Posts Tagged ‘vaccines’

Best autism articles of 2012: Vaccines, environmental causes, social skills and play dates

January 6, 2013
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Activities for play dates include books, sports equipment and games. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

Autism news in 2012 once again centered on the dramatic increase in autism rates. In March, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that one in 88 children has autism, up 78 percent from 2002.

Scientists increasingly learned through research that autism is largely caused by environmental and man-made factors, a departure from the view held years ago that autism’s causes were nearly all genetic.

Meanwhile, educational and therapeutic interventions continued to evolve, with a strong emphasis on play skills as a way to improve social and life skills for children on the spectrum.

Links and excerpts from 10 autism articles from 2012 are below.

Autism advocates, NIH, CDC testify to Congress about research, autism increase

Autism advocates and government officials testified in front of a congressional committee Thursday about the federal response to the dramatic increase in autism diagnoses in recent years.

One in every 88 babies born in the U.S. will develop autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control, a 23 percent increase since 2009 and a 78 percent increase since 2007. In the 1960s, autism was believed to affect one in 10,000 children in the U.S.

Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee questioned representatives of the National Institutes of Health and CDC about research priorities and subsequent results. A second panel of autism advocates testified about concerns ranging from research to services for people with autism. See the video here.

Numerous congressmen on the committee harshly criticized the NIH and CDC for a lack of effective research results, while agency officials at times struggled to come up with answers. The safety of vaccines was discussed, an issue that NIH and CDC insists is not linked to the rise in autism. However, many parents still steadfastly believe vaccines are one of the causes of the disorder. Members of the House committee recounted instances in which parents told them of children developmentally regressing immediately after being subjected to vaccines.

To read excerpts from the articles on Examiner.com, click here.

Autism advocates, federal officials testify to Congress about autism rates, vaccines, and research

December 2, 2012

Autism advocates and government officials testified in front of a congressional committee Thursday about the federal response to the dramatic increase in autism diagnoses in recent years.

One in every 88 babies born in the U.S. will develop autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control, a 23 percent increase since 2009 and a 78 percent increase since 2007. In the 1960s, autism was believed to affect one in 10,000 children in the U.S.

Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee questioned representatives of the National Institutes of Health and CDC about research priorities and subsequent results. A second panel of autism advocates testified about concerns ranging from research priorities to services for people with autism. See the video here.

Some of the committee members harshly criticized the NIH and CDC for a lack of effective results, while agency officials at times struggled to come up with answers.

Some highlights from the hearing:

Congressmen, led by Rep. Dan Burton (R-IL), a longtime proponent of vaccine safety, urged NIH and CDC to get mercury out of all childhood vaccines. Thimerosal, a mercury preservative, was removed from most, but not all childhood vaccines by 2003.

Representatives of NIH and CDC claimed that much, and possibly all of the increase in autism rates can be accounted for by better detection, a claim that was questioned by many congressmen and disputed by Mark Blaxill of SafeMinds.

“Some observers have claimed this rise is not real,” Blaxill told the committee. “That numbers are going up because of ‘better diagnosing.’ While it is true that we now diagnose autism with better tools, that doesn’t mean there is some ‘hidden horde’ of overlooked autism cases. The old surveys didn’t just miss 99% of children with autism. Anyone who reads them will see the obvious: it’s clear the researchers were diligent in finding cases and confident that they found the vast majority of children. It’s horrible but true; reported rates of autism have risen simply because there are more cases of autism.”

Blaxill also urged the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee to focus on environmental causes of autism instead of genetics.

Vaccine critics have also questioned why the government hasn’t conducted studies of vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations. Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), asked this very question of Collen Boyle of the CDC.

She talked about vaccines in general, then was interrupted by Posey, who clarified the question: “So clearly, definitely, unequivocally, you have studied vaccinated versus unvaccinated?”

“We have not studied vaccinated versus unvaccinated,” replied Boyle.

“Never mind. Stop there. That was the meaning of my question. You wasted two minutes of my time,” said Posey.

To read the entire article on Examiner.com, click here.

15 articles from 2010 every parent of a child with an autism spectrum disorder should read

January 15, 2011

One of the major educational and therapeutic trends in autism in 2010 was an increase in meaningful, developmental autism therapies that incorporate social, emotional and cognitive skills to enhance traditional behavioral methods.

On the research front, scientists increasingly recognized and acknowledged that autism is largely environmental and not solely genetic.

And while devastating tragedies occurred, out of those heartbreaks came greater awareness and safety measures that will ultimately save the lives of vulnerable children.

Examiner.com‘s Mike Frandsen takes a look back at some of the articles from 2010 that reflected critical issues in the world of autism.

Mason Alert would help prevent wandering, drowning deaths of kids with autism

Mason Alert to be combined with Take Me Home program to prevent autism wandering

Dr. Stanley Greenspan dies, founded Floortime and developmental approaches to autism therapy

Teaching, coaching sports, playing with children with autism: rewarding, but also a whole lot of fun

Play dates for kids with autism can enhance social skills, emotional awareness, and learning

Using humor, puppets in play therapy can enhance social, communication skills for kids with autism

Understanding and managing emotions are important life and social skills for children with autism

Sports and exercise for children with autism can improve social and cognitive skills

Top 10 mistakes, lessons learned from therapy programs for children with autism spectrum disorders

Landrigan calls for more research into pesticides, toxic chemicals, environmental causes of autism

Autism advocate Lyn Redwood discusses mercury vaccine controversy, chelation, treatment and recovery

Interview with Dan Olmsted, Mark Blaxill: ‘Age of Autism-Mercury, Medicine, and a Manmade Epidemic’

Congress: CDC misled public about Washington, D.C. lead in water crisis, lead was toxic for some

Facilitated Communication (FC) enables non-verbal people on autism spectrum to communicate by typing

HHS, NIH and other federal agencies should hire more employees with autism and other disabilities

For the rest of the article on Examiner.com, click here.

U.S. government compensated more vaccine injury or death claims for old DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-whole cell pertussis) vaccine than for any other vaccine

September 29, 2010

Whooping cough cases caused by pertussis have increased in the U.S. in recent years, and articles have urged parents to vaccinate their children against the disease.  However, the articles fail to mention the extent of some of the side effects of the vaccines.

In the last 20 years, the U.S. government compensated vaccine victims for injury or death claims 1,265 times for the old DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-whole cell pertussis) vaccine.  That’s more than four times as many claims compensated than for the vaccine that resulted in the next highest number of claims compensated, the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine (304 claims compensated).

In 1991, the FDA approved acellular pertussis vaccines DTaP (diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis), which are much safer than the old whole cell pertussis vaccines.  The U.S. government only compensated 101 claims for injury or death for the DTaP vaccines, first phased in in 1991 to go along with the DTP vaccine.  Other acellular pertussis vaccines were phased in later in the 1990s.

Vaccineinformation.org states that “Although DTaP vaccine does not cause neurological disorders, receiving the vaccine can cause an already-present underlying condition to show itself.”  This means that if a neurological disorder results from the vaccine, the child’s susceptibility to the disorder is blamed, even if that susceptibility would not have been triggered or manifested without the vaccine. This is a similar argument used in the Hannah Poling case, in which the government conceded that vaccines caused Hannah’s autism, but blamed an underlying mitochondrial disorder.

(As for the autism-vaccines debate, you can read about it in this interview on Examiner.com with the authors of the new Age of Autism book.  Another autism expert blames chemicals.

Essentially, the CDC says the vaccines are safe, except for cases in which infants and children get severe, sometimes permanent reactions, which only happen rarely.  Wording on the CDC website states that the vaccine reactions are worth it to preserve herd immunity.  If the CDC were a person in court, it would likely not be given much credibility because of misleading statements.

Adverse events that can occur that the government compensates victims for after pertussis antigen-containing vaccines (e.g., DTaP, Tdap, DTP, P, DTP-Hib) include:

Anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock 1 0-4 hours
B.  Encephalopathy (or encephalitis) 2 0-72 hours
C.  Any acute complication or sequela (including death) of above events 4

A “sequela,” according to Wikipedia, is a pathological condition resulting from a diseaseinjury, or other trauma.  The VICP defines it as “a condition or event which was actually caused by a condition listed in the Vaccine Injury Table.”

Encephalopathy includes seizures and mental or neurological changes.

The following statistics are from the Health Resources and Services Administration Vaccine Injury Compensation Program website.

Vaccines with highest number of claims of injury or death compensated by U.S. government since 1989:

Vaccine(s) Filed Compensated
Injury Death Total
DTP

(diphtheria-tetanus-whole cell pertussis)

3,282 696 3,978 1,265
MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) 814 52 866 304
Hepatitis B (Hep B) 555 48 603 171
Influenza (Trivalent) 476 29 505 170
OPV (Oral Polio) 280 27 307 157
DTaP

(diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis)

291 74 365 101
Pertussis 5 3 8 2
TOTAL 12,468 1,044 13,512 2,529

Note:  “Pertussis,” in italics above listed by itself, only resulted in two claims for injury or death compensated by the government. It is unclear if that means the pertussis vaccine alone is safer than the one combined with other vaccines.

Of the vaccines in the table above, those that contain pertussis also have a much higher percentage of claims filed that involve death than those that involve just injury.

Obviously this isn’t to say don’t vaccinate – it’s just to let people know as much information as possible.  Those who write that vaccines are safe when the government has compensated 2,529 claims for injury or death from vaccines, either are lying or just don’t understand the whole issue.

There are people, by the way, who believe that it is a necessary and acceptable risk for some children to die or be permanently injured so that the vast majority may benefit from vaccines.

‘Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Manmade Epidemic,’ a new book by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill, goes on sale today

September 14, 2010

Age of Autism by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Manmade Epidemic, a new book by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill, goes on sale today.  I interviewed Olmsted and Blaxill about the book for Examiner.com.

They make a strong case that the autism epidemic is very real, and more environmental than genetic.  Olmsted, a reporter who has devoted his career to writing about autism, and Blaxill, the father of a daughter with autism, argue that autism is largely the result of mercury from pollution, commercial products, and vaccines.

They investigated the backgrounds of some of the parents of the original children Leo Kanner identified in the late 1930s as having autism, and discovered that several of the parents had links to mercury in their backgrounds.

Olmsted and Blaxill say the increase in autism tracks with the use of mercury as a preservative in vaccines (thimerosal), though they say they are not anti-vaccine, just pro-vaccine safety.

Pollution is also a major factor in autism, say the authors, because coal emissions result in mercury that gets into the environment.  They also write that spikes in schizophrenia and other diseases occurred since the Industrial Revolution, perhaps due to pollution.

A couple of other interesting items – they theorize that Mozart may have died from accidental mercury poisoning as a treatment for syphilis.  They also note that the Amish, who vaccinate much less frequently than the general population, have a significantly lower rate of autism.

Obviously the theory that autism is linked to vaccines in some cases is controversial, but those who dismiss the theory outright should read the whole book before commenting on it.

The authors make excellent arguments that the traditional idea that autism is mostly genetic cannot be true because of the huge increase in cases of autism, now one in 110 according to the CDC.  Autism was unknown before the 1930s.

Click here for the interview.

Oral arguments made in Cedillo Omnibus Autism Proceeding mercury and MMR vaccine test case appeal

June 13, 2010

Oral arguments were made in the autism vaccine appeal case of Michelle Cedillo vs. Health and Human Services Thursday at theU.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.

The case of Cedillo, a 15-year old girl with autism, was the first test case of more than 5,000 cases in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding. This proceeding was created by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) because of the large number of cases in which parents claim vaccines caused autism in their children. The federal government established the VICP to prevent the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture vaccines from being sued.

The vaccine court ruled against the Cedillos in February 2009 and affirmed the ruling six months later.

Sylvia Chin-Caplan, an attorney for the Cedillos, told Examiner.com after Thursday’s court session the case should go back to court: “I’m hopeful that because the substantive due process so tainted the entire procedure and so tainted the outcome of the case entire case that the appellate court will recognize that and will give us an opportunity by remanding the case.”

To see the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

Autism advocate Lyn Redwood discusses mercury vaccine controversy, chelation, treatment and recovery

May 2, 2010

First in a three-part series.

Autism is a treatable biochemical medical condition rather than an incurable psychological disorder, says Lyn Redwood, whose son recovered from autism after having mercury removed from his body. Redwood’s son Will is one of a growing number of children who have recovered from autism or made excellent progress from behavioral therapies and/or biomedical treatments.

I interviewed Redwood during the Autism Research Institute, Defeat Autism Now! semi-annual conference in Baltimore April 10, which she was coordinating. ARI conducts and fosters biomedical scientific research designed to improve the methods of diagnosing, treating, and preventing autism.

For the rest of my article on examiner.com, please click here.


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